Entries Tagged as 'commentary'

the voiceover agent series: how I partnered with Rockstar Entertainment in Los Angeles, CA

Voice Talent Peter K. O'Connell Rockstar EntertainmentEditor’s note: Often times I get asked by both new and experienced voiceover talent “how do you get a voiceover agent?” Or “how did you get signed with a specific voice talent agency?” It occurred to me recently that there are some interesting and fun stories about how I have partnered with my voiceover agents. Everybody likes a good story so I thought I would share a few of them in something I’ve entitled “the voiceover agent series”.

If you haven’t met Scott Burns, Seattle, WA voice talent extraordinaire, well you’re kinda missing out.

As with many voice talents, including yours truly, Scott started out in radio and just has the most creative mind for broadcasting and voiceover scripts that you’ll find anywhere. He co-hosted a very successful radio show in the NW for many years and it is radio’s loss that they don’t have him waking people up in some amazing city somewhere.

I don’t know how many years I’ve known Scott but I do recall meeting him for the first time in Amy Snively’s bedroom at Faffcon.

I should explain that last sentence…but I don’t think I will. Though nothing even remotely improper took place, I want to be included in a salacious rumor that something naughty did take place and that I was somehow a part of it.

Yes, my life IS that boring! 🙂

Anyway, it was some years after the naughtiness that was not at Faffcon (around 2014) that Scott and I were speaking on the phone. I can’t remember the specifics of the call – because between meetings and phone calls, we’ve chatted a fair amount over the years.

Lena Morgan_Rockstar EntertainmentBut at some point in the conversation he mentioned Lena Morgan, the owner/agent at Rockstar Entertainment. Well, he didn’t mention her so much as he shouted her name from the rooftops (as Scott is sometimes wont to do). He couldn’t be more effusive about Lena, how she was at IDIOM Agency and went out on her own and how great she was at getting her work and managing each deal and on and on. Summing it up, Scott adores Lena as an agent and a person.

But then again, Scott likes me too, so his judgement is clearly askew.

Nonetheless, I took Scott at his word and after our call, I sent a quick email to Lena letting her know how beloved by Scott she was. Then SHE starts in on how great Scott is and his talent and on and on. Meanwhile I’m trying to figure out what kind of vortex of sincere, happy compliments I’ve suddenly dropped into. It was a surprisingly pleasant place.

Then, in the email, she asked for my demos. I sent. She liked. We partnered. Simple as that. I’ve been on Lena’s voiceover roster ever since.

the voiceover agent series: how I partnered with Moxie Talent in Kansas City, MO

Voice Talent Peter K. O'Connell_Moxie Talent Agency 19Editor’s note: Often times I get asked by both new and experienced voiceover talent “how do you get a voiceover agent?” Or “how did you get signed with a specific voice talent agency?” It occurred to me recently that there are some interesting and fun stories about how I have partnered with my voiceover agents. Everybody likes a good story so I thought I would share a few of them in something I’ve entitled “the voiceover agent series”.

I met Stacey Siegert, the owner of Moxie Talent on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. That was also the day we agreed to work together.

I was in Kansas City, Missouri the night before having dinner with my old Faffcon pal Dan Hurst who, that night introduced me to two other voiceover talents, Matt Wiewel and Andy Barnett. We went to a BBQ rib joint there because…Kansas City.

We had a great time swapping voiceover stories and how we got to where we were in our careers. The stories were pretty great as I recall.

As happens in these conversations, we spoke about their specific market and about agents there. As my memory serves (and sometimes it’s closed for business on account of fog) Dan and Andy were represented by a long established agency…I believe Matt was there too.

But they also mentioned a fairly new voiceover agent in the market by the name of Stacey Siegert who had just started an agency called Moxie. I believe (again, this could be the fog rolling in) that Stacey has previously worked at a local agency and had decided to go out on her own.

So the next day I had a minute before catching my plane home, so I stopped by Moxie to introduce myself.

Sometimes these drive by introductions can go well and sometimes VO agents can be very off-put by such a display. I was in the Northwest part of the country once where my voiceover agent office drop by was met with a look of deer-in-headlights shock that I would walk in to a place of business unannounced. That told me all I needed to know and I left, relieved.

Stacey Siegert Moxie TalentBut when I stopped by to meet Stacey at Moxie, she was gracious, professional, smart and welcoming. An engaging personality that I could immediately tell producers would enjoy working with. She was somebody who appreciates that talent who worked with her. And all this in just the first few minutes.

She liked my demos, I liked her. It was a good fit.

About a year or so ago, I spoke separately with Dan and Andy and now THEY are on the Moxie Talent roster too!

sometimes you do it just cause it makes you happy

IN VOICEOVER and in many other industries, our websites are our store fronts.

peter k o'connell voiceover agent cities 2019

Because most of us work out of our homes, we don’t see much street traffic – although clients do come over to the house to record from time to time. It’s a great way to force yourself (or my children in my case) to clean the house.

So we as voice actors try to make sure we make the web site SEO friendly, make sure the menus flow well, make sure the content is informative, timely and fits our branding message. Of course, we want it to be attractive and inviting as well.

Some more obsessive website owners (whomever they might be and they might have an apostrophe in their name…or not) are always looking for unique and sometimes very subtle ways to gain a viewers attention or peek their creative interest by showing something visually (as well as ‘audiolly’) cool.

And then sometimes you include something in your voiceover web site just because it makes you happy.

Truth be told, THAT’s the reason I included the above graphics on my voiceover agent page on my web site.

Some will look at the page and this blog post as a way for me to be bragging about my agents…I can only tell you this post is sincerely not meant that way. I wanted to share with you the creative process I went through to create this in hopes that maybe it will spur you on to create something new and unique to your own web site, something unique and specially that you hadn’t thought about adding until reading this. Onward, then.

The idea started thusly…

I was looking at other voice talent web sites for a completely different reason and noticed a voiceover agent page that featured logos of that’s talent’s agents. Many of us try to include our agents on our web sites to give them recognition and possibly leads for those folks who prefer to book voice talents not directly via the talent but rather by an agent. Fine by me!

In a previous incarnation of this page, I had included a graphic of agency logos but I thought it got too busy and for a long time, I have just listed text.

Well today I went back to the idea of trying to squeeze in small logos from each agent next to their text listing. But it ended up looking forced and some of the logos were…well let’s just say some agents aren’t graphic designers and leave it at that (yes I am a snob about such things — with no credibility to judge anyone). Oh and many agents have very nice logos as well. Bottom line with my agents, they are good business partners and that’s what I sincerely care about.

But I wanted to create a way for the agent page to stand out a little more and be visually interesting to the reader.

airport bag tagSince logos weren’t going to work, I had to consider a unique, common theme. I thought about geography, then cities, then how people know cities, then how cities have nicknames, cities have abbreviations and then…..codes! Airport codes!! Of course!!!

As you know, I am in airports all the time and I often refer to cities by their airport codes. It annoys my family sometimes but I come by it genetically because my frequent flyer Da did the same thing. So there is that memory fueling this idea too.

Most of my clients are business owners and many of them travel so there should be an immediate familiarity with this look and feel as well.

So keeping with a generic format, I used no unique colors rather just a simple, understated, functional and a bit elegant look…at least in my head.

Maybe nobody will notice this except me…and now you because you read this (thanks for that, BTW).

But it’s kind of like those studio knickknacks we all have or that special picture or piece of children’s art you keep.

It just makes you happy to have them and that’s reason enough to keep them.

Until my next idea, anyway.

 

female voice talent natasha marchewka published in backstage magazine

It is always nice to be invited to a party.

It means people enjoy your company, you usually have interesting or funny things to say and people generally like having you around.

Voice Talent Natasha Marchewka published in Backstage MagazineSo I was honored yet surprised when I got an email from my friend, fellow Faffer and female voiceover talent Natasha Marchewka a few weeks ago. She was writing an article for Backstage Magazine about the best ways for voiceover talents to secure new business and she wanted to interview me.

Naturally, I requested a private plane to NYC, a suite at a 5-star hotel in mid-town Manhattan for 7 days, 24-hour chauffeur, clothing and food allowance (no more than $5,000 per day, as I am not greedy). I also said the 10 tickets I would need for Hamilton on Broadway could be within the theatre’s  first 10 rows. Only divas demand front row. I am hardly a diva.

Plus sometimes the actor’s spit when they talk and if you’re in the front row…ewww!

So Natasha emailed me the questions and said IF (and only if) my answers were any good, she might include them in the article.

Oh well, you miss 100% of the shots you never take. 🙂

Somehow I made the cut. Natasha was very kind to include me at all and the editors of Backstage were also kind not to hit the delete key after seeing my name in the article….sometimes my life can feel like one long edit with a dull blade (old time radio people will get that reference).

Here is the link to the Backstage article HERE.

a taste of radio makes you hungry for it again

audioconnell radio production studioIn the past when I traveled, I used to bring my portable rig, build a pillow fort, hook everything up and try and make a good recording in a crap environment. For the most part, it worked out OK.

The best result was that it would sound OK. That’s pretty much it.

Folks who don’t travel alot, like I do, think it’s kinda fun to put all that stuff together. After years of doing all that, you find out it’s monotonous. From the actual fort building and jerry-rigging to getting a shot-gun microphone through airport security without TSA pooping their collective pants (reasonably so as a Sennheiser 416 mic looks very suspicious under the x-ray machine) it gets to be a pain.

Bottom line, if I don’t HAVE to bring a travel rig, I won’t.

Instead, I use recording studios in the cities I visit. You meet new people, make new contacts and generally enjoy much better recording conditions. Except for that recording session outside of Dayton, OH that got postponed because there was a drug-related murder that took place across the street just before I was set to arrive.

And by postponed I mean I cancelled it. Just to avoid the possibility of me getting eternally cancelled.

So recent on one of my trips, I was in need of a studio for a rush audition. It was inside a large radio station and being in the station’s production room was like a joyful time warp for me.

From the board to the desk to the Electro-voice RE-20 microphone (the same type I used in the 80’s when I worked in radio) it was a wonderful place to be.

People who used to work in radio (and there are tens of thousands of us) will rightly complain that we were poorly paid, over worked and undervalued. People of work in radio now may say the same thing.

But pay and some lousy bosses (and/or owners) aside, it brings most of us real broadcasters to our happy place. Playing the music, mixing the stop sets, the radio station jingles, banter, callers, on-location events – it was all so fun and yet professional. There were and are many very good people in radio. We were serious about doing a good job, being creative, working to make sponsors happy….it could be a good business to be in.

This isn’t a gauzy, romanticized remembrance for me…radio had many good parts to it.

But by the time I finished with it, the bad parts outweighed the good parts. That’s just how life goes.

I completely understand why people stay in the radio business (even for less than stellar wages) and why even a few of my VO friends have gone back into it.

Being in that radio studio for my recent recording, it was my brief happy place. And all we all want is to be happy.

national hat day or an obsession

Looking at social media, I found out that January 15 is National Hat Day. (Yes I agree, there is a ‘national day’ for waaay too many things.)

Peter K. O'Connell Voiceover Hats

Nonetheless, clearly it was my civic duty to participate and share my hat collection with the internet. If there is a National T-Shirt Day, I may have to participate in that as well.

So clearly I have an over abundance of baseball hats. Why, you ask?

PeterKOConnell Movember15 Week1There are a couple of reasons beyond that I just like wearing them.

As a golfer, I have been a member of the USGA for a long time. And every time you pay for your renewal, they send you a golf hat (really a baseball cap) with the logo of that year’s U.S. Open Championship. So there’s all those.

Next, when my boys starting playing little league, their teams would mimic the names of MLB teams, so I would get a couple of hats of each of their teams and their team would change each year.

Being from Buffalo, I just couldn’t have one hat from the Buffalo Bills football team, Buffalo Sabres hockey team, Buffalo Bisons Triple-A baseball team and Buffalo Bandits lacrosse team. I hat [sic] to have many.

Peter K. Peter K. O'Connell Bills Hat 2017

So there’s that.

Then, because the Bills weren’t making it in the playoffs, I would get a hat for the NFL team I was supporting in the playoffs to wear to football parties. The Bills weren’t in the playoffs for a loooong time.

Then the rest of the hats just sort of accumulated. If I went to a MLB game, I would buy a home team cap if I didn’t already have it. And it grew from there.

#cans4cans 2018 Peter K. O'Connell Voiceover Talent

Radio Imaging Voice Talent Peter K. O’Connell participating in the 2018 #Cans4Cans Food Donation event, sponsored by Benztown

I’m kind of partial to a particular style of baseball cap. ’47 Brand has a style called The Cleanup. I do NOT wear the standard, boxy baseball style cap seen on MLB players and nothing with half cloth, half mesh (guess I’m a bit of a baseball cap diva).

Being from Buffalo, I do have various styles of baseball caps from New Era Cap company. Although I don’t know how many more I will buy from them because New Era Cap is closing their Derby, NY plant, displacing hundreds of workers who helped build the company to what it is today. A majority of their manufacturing is going overseas with only the actually MLB team caps still being made in New Era’s Miami plant . I understand that other manufacturers (like ’47 Brand) make hats in other countries, but I always held New Era Cap to a higher standard, because of local pride.

There you have it, the somewhat brief history of my hundreds of baseball caps. More to come!